North American Aviation had a plan to get an American framed as the first Man in Space by stripping an X-15A, adding advanced heat shields, and attaching boosters to the aft to achieve a single 120 x 75 km orbit. Other boosters included the Saturn I and a modified Navaho rocket.
Project Orion was a study of spacecraft intended to be directly propelled by nuclear pulse propulsion, or a series of explosions of atomic bombs behind the craft. Earlier versions of the vehicle were proposed to launch from the ground with significant associated nuclear fallout, although later versions were presented for use only in space.
This concept offered high thrust and high specific impulse (propellant efficiency) simultaneously. Meeting such unprecedented extreme power requirements for doing so would be accomplished through nuclear explosions of such power, relative to the vehicle’s mass as to be survived only by using external detonations without attempting to contain them in internal structures.
The Partial Test Ban Treaty of 1963 is generally acknowledged to have ended the project.
Shaped Nuclear Charge used to propel later (1961) Military Orion Vehicle (as seen in the photo above).
I still need to make a Masterpost of the Orion Vehicle development.
WORLD’S FAIR DISPLAY— An Atlas space launch vehicle and a Mercury spacecraft at the Astronautics division of General Dynamics Corp., San Diego, are prepared for an Air Force-NASA display at the New York World’s Fair, which opens April 22. The Air Force airlifted the two vehicles from San Diego Saturday (March 14) to New York, where they will be mated and erected in launch attitude. They will symbolize the Mercury-Atlas vehicles which launched John Glenn, Scott Carpenter, Walter Schirra, and Gordon Cooper into orbit in NASA’s 100 per cent successful Project Mercury manned space flight program. The Atlas is produced for the Air Force by the Astronautics Division.
To test the Space Suits that were to be used for the Army Moon Base, the Lunar Environment Simulator (LES) used Liquid Nitrogen to cool the sphere’s atmosphere to Lunar temperatures, as well as test the Radiation effects on the suits while performing Moon based Tasks. Essentially, these were the real life parallel of the Enrichment Spheres from Portal 2!
The first Delta II rocket to launch in over three years was assembled last week at Vandenberg Air Force Base, in preparation for tonight’s OCO-2 launch. The Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 satellite will perform the most detailed observations of carbon dioxide levels. The original satellite was launched in 2009, but a payload fairing malfunction caused the craft to fail to achieve Earth orbit.
The Delta II was once the United State Air Force’s most reliable rocket. With the advent of the larger Delta IV and Atlas V, however, the Delta II has been phased out of service. Components for only five more rockets remain, with four being purchased by NASA. Flights in November 2014, 2015, and mid 2017 are on the books for the launcher, all of which will take place from Vandenberg. Florida’s likely last Delta II launch was also the rocket’s most recent, launching NASA’s twin GRAIL satellites in October, 2011.
Launch is scheduled for 5:56 AM EST (2:56 AM PST). Check out NASA’s brochure on OCO-2.
The Delta II?? That’s like from the days of the C-Titan III. I wonder why the Delta II was chosen over the Atlas V?
Article from Life Magazine in 1957 which said we were as close as five years from fission and fusion rockets.
Well, they weren’t lying at least, in 1961 the NERVA nuclear thermal rocket program was initiated to follow up on the Project Rover nuclear rockets from 1955 to 1964. If things would have worked out, the RIFT program would have integrated a NERVA rocket into the S-IVb stage of a modified Saturn V, allowing a much larger payload to be launched.
NERVA Integration into a S-N stage for RIFT Program
Lockheed Martin’s SR-72 “Son of Blackbird” is arguably the most important aircraft since the invention of the jet engine. Why? Because the SR-72 promises to make subsonic, supersonic, and hypersonic (below, +1x, and +5x the speed of sound) flight possible, all within one aircraft. When this technology enters the civilian sector it will make it possible to travel from New York to London in about an hour.
While this is all fascinating, and will make air travel more convenient, that is not the real breakthrough. If you can take off horizontally, transition from subsonic flight to hyper-sonic flight on one propulsion system, its not that difficult to add an additional propulsion system to the package. Add a rocket to this aircraft, and you have a single-stage to orbit space-plane.
This will be essential as humanity pushes out to settle the Moon, Mars, Asteroid Belt, and eventually the outer planets.
While I agree that this is a really neat technology, I think that combined cycle hypersonics are more suited towards unpredictably peeping where satellites can’t without getting your butt burnt on an anti-aircraft missile.
Something better suited towards all that space travel is something like the SABRE Air Breathing Rocket system (being implemented on the Skylon SSTO) which really wouldn’t be very applicable to the same sort of mission as the SR-72.
But needless to say, I if the SR-72 is what the Military is doing in public, what are they secretly doing?